UNMC professor urges legal medical marijuana

In a dusky bar, backlit by neon lamps, Ally Dering-Anderson informed listeners of the need to legalize medical marijuana.  Her lecture was part of the UNMC Science Cafe series at the Slowdown in North downtown Omaha March 8.  Tables were filled by attendees who munched on pizza provided by The Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures while Dering-Anderson addressed ethical issues hounding the medical marijuana debate.

Approximately 150 people attended the event, said Kacie Gerard, special events associate for the UNMC Department of Public Relations.

Dering-Anderson, a clinical assistant professor at the UNMC College of Pharmacy, speaks to local groups, state associations and regional meetings about pharmacy and health issues, according to the Science Cafe’s website. 

The Slowdown was a fitting setting for the conversation, with its hip, urban environment.  Dering-Anderson spoke in the rear of the partitioned bar to an audience perched on stools and chairs, tap beer foaming in chilled mugs and their abandoned pizza crusts resting on greasy plates.  They attentively listened to her educated, empirically-based opinions on the need to legalize medical marijuana.

She continued by expounding on the  hsitory of marijuana.  Queen Elizabeth used the plant for relieving menstrual cramps.  The original draft of the Declaration of Independence was crafted on hemp paper.  And, according to Dering-Anderson the current federal legislation of medical marijuana is based on “racist laws” from the 1930s. 

Both humorous anecdotes and jargon were interspersed throughout her lecture, but, overall, Dering-Anderson’s tone was earnest.

She spoke passionately about the need for the federal government to stay out of her relationships with her patients. Every time a drug becomes the target of regulation, she said, it affects her ability to take care of patients.  She questioned lay people’s involvment in legislation, and said we need “non-emotional, non-knee jerking people to make a decision on the federal level.”

Questions were encouraged at the conclusion of the lecture and  Dering-Anderson answered each one respectfully. 

The Science Cafe provides a welcome gathering place for the curious and questioning or those looking for a free meal and a comfortable chair.

The event, which focuses on a new topic every installment, traditionally occurs monthly in Omaha and once every other month in Lincoln, with a scientist leading the conversation.

via : Gateway

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